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Monongahela project

The Monongahela
by

Hunter Reynolds

on 4 May 2013

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Transcript of Monongahela project

The Monongahela Who are the Monongahela? Many years ago, in a place we now call Pennsylvania, lived a Native American group known as the Monongahela . They inhabited southwestern Pennsylvania and nearby areas between 400 and 1,000 years ago. Their are no Monongahela alive today to tell us what they called themselves, so archaeologists gave them their name after the Monongahela river. What was daily life like? Men,women,and children participated in the planting and harvesting the crops, but women, children, and the elderly were responsible for tending the crops during growing season. Trips away from the village were necessary to hunt, gather wild plants, and collect materials to make houses and tools. Men were responsible for most of the hunting, although, as with many of life's daily chores, cooperation of everyone was needed. Men and women butchered the animals, and women were responsible for preserving for the winter months and preparing food for the summer months. As much time was spent gathering wild plants as was spent on hunting, and women were responsible for gathering wild fruits, nuts, and plants, though children and men would have helped. The Monongahela, like people today, had to provide for basic needs such as shelter, clothing, and food. Daily life within the village included the upkeep of the houses, preparation of meals, making tools, mending clothing and fixing broken tools, and spending time telling stories and playing games. They made tools from stone, bone, clay, and wood. Monongahela household items included: grass/rush mats for sitting and drying food, animal skins for bedding, bark containers/pails, baskets for a variety of tasks, clay cooking and food storage pots, mortars and pestles, dried food, fishing gear, hunting tools, eating utensils, bowls, ladles, stirring paddles, wood working tools, weapons, hide working tools, sewing kits, clothing and ornaments, toys and games, smoking pipes, tobacco, fire, and farming tools. Where did they live and how they lived? To build houses for shelter, they had special tools to cut wood and to dig holes in the ground to support the wood frames of the houses. The Monongahela lived in round, dome-shaped houses 9 to 30 feet in diameter. They would have stone axes to cut down small trees for house posts, and knives to trim the house posts. These houses were made by cutting down the small trees and pushing the cut end into the ground. The trees were put in the ground in a large circle; then the tops were bent together and tied. Archeologists know the houses were round because of the patterns the rotted poles left in the ground. Also, the early European settlers in other parts of the county documented what they saw, which helps archeologists understand what they found. Poles were bent around the outside of the frame to make the house more stable. Large pieces of of tree bark were cut and placed over the frame,like shingles on a roof, for protection against bad weather. A hole was left at the top of the roof to allow the smoke from the campfire to escape out of the house. During the summer, cattail or rush mats covered houses and kept the rain from dripping inside, but allowed air to circulate. More info about where they lived and how they lived There was not a lot of furniture inside the houses. A cooking or heating hearth was located in the floor in the center of the house. Walls were lined with sleeping benches constructed from sticks and lined with animal skins or mats made from plants such as grasses. Monongahela had to hunt and grow their own food. Animal remains from Monongahela sites show that that they ate wild animals such as: deer, rabbit raccoon, possum, fox, turkey, fish and turtle. They also gathered and ate wild plants such as: raspberry, blueberry, plum, strawberry and nuts such as acorn, butternut, hickory, and walnut. Growing crops was one of the most important aspects of the Monongahela culture, and important crops included: corn, beans, squash, and sunflower. What did they wear? Archaeologists don't know what the Monongahela wore because clothing is not preserved in the ground, but they can make some very good guesses based on what the Europeans saw when they came to the new world. Deer skins were probably the main form of clothing. Men wore moccasins, leggings, and breechcloths made from animal skins, and in colder weather they wore shirts made from animal skin, and robes with animal fur. Women also wore moccasins and a short skirt in the warmer months, and deer skin dresses and robes in the colder months. Children probably wore little clothing until they grew older, and then wore clothing like their parents. Clothing for special occasions were decorated with beads from animal bone, shell, feather,animal fur, and paint. To make clothes, the Monongahela made sewing awls from animal bones. Awls and drills were made from stone. Other tools for preparing animal hides for clothing included stone and bone scrapers. The Monongahela, like Native Americans thousands of years before, made stone projectile points to hunt wild game. They also had other stone tools, such as knives, to cut up meat and hide. The process of making stone tools is called flintknapping. First they would select a good rock that would chip nicely. To chip the stone, they would use other rocks called hammerstones, creating large flakes which could be fashioned into tools. Sometimes they would also use wood, antler, or bone to further refine the edges of the tools. Clay pots were used for cooking and storage. To make the pots, the Monongahela found good clay, and usually added a temper to make the clay stronger. They made the pots by using coils, slabs or pinching the clay to get the form they wanted. Then they paddled the pot to bond the clay, thin the sides evenly, and to further and shape the pot. The paddle was usually wrapped with cord, leaving a impression of the cord in the clay. Sometimes they would decorate the pots with designs molded into the clay. The pot was fired in a pit, or an open air fire, to make it hard and ready for use. I Hope you enjoyed my project The Monongahela lived from about 1400 A.D. to about1625 A.D. What happened to the Monongahela? No one knows exactly happened to the Monongahela in the Meyersdale area. Archaeologists do know that 1400 A.D. the Monongahela left the Meyersdale area. Further west in southwestern P.A., the Monongahela culture lasted until around 1625 A.D. The Myersdale Monongahela could have moved west and joined another Native American group. In order to solve the mystery of the Monongahela, archaeologists continue to study Monongahela sites to answer many questions: Where did they come from? What language did they speak? What was their religion? What was their social structure? How did they relate to one and other and other Native Americans? Why did they leave the Somerset area and where did they go?
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